During Christmas 2015 Nice’s seven-year old Tramway proved it’s worth. Line 1 carried a record 110,000 daily passengers – a mix of shoppers, commuters and happy tourists. Goodness knows what Nice would look like if they all had to travel by car.
Indeed, comparing post-tram Christmas 2015 with pre-tram Christmas 2005 is compelling. A decade ago avenue Jean Médécin was an autoroute. Place Garibaldi was a parking lot. And place Masséna was a roundabout. Talk about positive town planning.
The two-year countdown to Nice’s new East-West tramway has now begun. By 2018 the 11km route will connect the yachts of Nice-Port with the jets at Nice Airport in 26 minutes flat. Tramway chiefs are even organising a competition to choose the colour of the carriages pictured above. Talk about confidence.
And until then? Nice is hardly Danté’s inferno. But for holidaymakers and apartment owners it pays to know who’s working where during 2016.
The big news for Station Nice-Port (one of 18 stops in the Tramway Line 2 system) is the piercing of the tunnel onto the yacht-strewn quays. In March 2016 the tube from rue Ségurane will be opened to allow debris out onto barges, which will deposit the detritus along the coast.
Then you will be able to, hypothetically of course, walk underground to Station Garibaldi/Château 400m away. Prepare for a mess, albeit of a very novel nature. The no.100 bus, which has changed its departure location four times since 2014, now leaves from the Église Notre-Dame-du-Port.
Station Garibaldi/Château will also host construction. Until mid-2016 a platform will be erected to install the Tramway system underground. Again a mess, but a fascinating one helpfully explained in this 3-D YouTube video.
Above the Durandy, Jean Médécin and Alsace-Lorraine stops, the three other underground stations within the city centre, it’s a similar story. That said the tunnel under construction is a tight as possible as Nice has purchased Alstom’s latest Citadis X05 tram carriages. These next generation trams can squeeze dozens more passengers inside but are exceptionally low off the ground. Only Sydney’s tramway system will get them sooner.
It’s best to see this work as an investment not an inconvenience. Because by 2018 one of the world’s most modern tram systems will be complete. Some 85% of hotels and holiday rental apartments will then be within walking distance to Tramway 1 or 2. Talk about potential.